"Let books be your dining table, / And you shall be full of delights. / Let them be your
And you shall sleep restful nights" (St. Ephraim the Syrian).

Monday, February 21, 2011

The Didache

Baker Academic draws my attention to a recent publication of a commentary one of the earliest "documents" in Christian history:

Thomas O'Loughlin, The Didache: A Window on the Earliest Christians (Baker Academic, 2010), 208pp.

The publisher provides us the following blurb:

The Didache (or The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles) is one of the earliest Christian writings, compiled between 50 and 70 CE. Thus it probably predates the four Gospels. It offers a unique glimpse into how some of the earliest Christian communities lived and worshiped.
Thomas O'Loughlin shares the story of this first-century manual for training converts from its discovery in an obscure library in Istanbul in the late nineteenth century to the present and then offers an analysis of the text's importance. His new translation, along with a commentary, highlights areas of key interest to Christians today: the faith and hope, discipline and rituals, and anxieties and challenges facing Gentiles being trained for full participation in the earliest Jewish-Christian communities. The book concludes with a discussion of how the Didache relates to other early church texts, particularly the Gospels, and gives answers to the most frequently asked questions about this fascinating and important treatise.
The Didache features a detailed description of the day-to-day faith and step-by-step routines that shaped the Jesus movement some twenty years after the death of Christ. The focus of the faction at that time was not on proclaiming the titles and deeds of Jesus. Those aspects come to the fore later in the letters of Paul and in the gospel narratives. Instead, the focus of the Didache was on the life and knowledge of Jesus himself.This is an essential resource for readers interested in history, Scripture, and liturgy in Christianity's earliest period.

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